New members of elite Swiss Guard sworn in to protect the pope

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Maximilian Fischer, 20, is one of the new recruits to an institution that has been protecting popes since the 16th century – the Swiss Guard.

Known to tourists in St Peter’s Square for its colourful yellow, red and blue uniforms and ceremonial halberd weapons, the “world’s smallest army” comprises Swiss Catholics aged between 19 and 30 and it remains all male.

“My mum always made these jokes that when I was older, I could go to the Swiss Guards because I was Swiss,” Fischer told Reuters.

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